Bronze. Bronze is the perfect colour to describe the landscape I am standing in. This hasty, sweet time of year where the coldness pinches your skin, and rainfalls of golden, kerosene coloured leaves drop to the surface of the ground, covering every inch of grass.
Right in front of me is lake maroon. A pure black, sapphire lake that lies flat with no movement. Like the night sky on a cloudless night.
As kids my sister and I swam in it almost every day. Chiacking and skylarking about we probably scared every fish out of the entire lake. But now, a single ripple from a fallen leaf is as much movement you could get out of the lake now.
“Wow” I whisper to myself, The sight of lake, the fallen leaves and the mist that hovers above the water evokes such an eerie feeling.
‘Snap!’ goes a large stick behind me.
With such speed I whip my body around to see what it was. There is nothing. Now is not the time for creepy sounds, honestly. I slowly breathe out. My heart is beating faster and faster. Just before I turn back around to gaze out at the lake again I see an eye.
My heart misses a beat, just like the feeling you get when you accidentally skip a step. I swear it’s an eye. It is right up against our apple tree; a solid cobalt blue iris. What is it? Is it a person? Should I say something?
“Hi” I quietly say.
No response... Well I can’t turn around now and pretend like nothing has happened because there is a creepy person up near our house staring at me.
Then it finally reveals itself. It’s a girl, a girl with long brown hair that falls all the way to her hips. I don’t recognise her, I have never seen her face before. I smile at the sight of one autumn leaf stuck halfway through her hair.
“Hello” she speaks. What is she doing here? There are no other houses out this far of town.
“How did you get out here?” I ask her.
She doesn’t reply but stands there solidly. Should I just turn around and act like nothing has happened? No it would be way too awkward.
“You’re Ruben, aren’t you?” She asks. Her voice is incredibly smooth which elicts a feeling of butter sliding around the inside of my head. I pause and stare at her, gazing into her beautiful eyes. Wait she knows my name!
“How do you know my name?” I ask with a croak in my voice. She trots down with such grace from the mound the apple tree stands on and walks over next to me. She stands there ignoring my last question and gazes out along Lake Maroon.
“This is such a pretty lake” She says.
“Umm, yeah it’s beautiful isn’t it” I say while turning around to look along with her.
“Are there platypuses roaming around in it?” She asks.
“Yeah I think so, I have never seen one but if we quietly walk around the lake we probably could see one.” I reply.
“Can you swim in it?” She excitingly asks.
“Yeah of course, but the last time we have ever swam in it was when my sister and I were kids. And we’re the only people who live out here anyway.”
“We should swim in it sometime. You and me” She turns her head to look at me and smiles. After a few seconds I look at her and say
This is so strange. Who is this girl? Should I just say 'bye now' and walk inside? This is making me feel really uncomfortable.
I move the positioning of my feet and realise the blunt, rounded stones under me that lay on the edge of the lake. I bend over to pick a perfectly smooth flat stone and grasp it between my thumb and pointer finger. Then I give it a huge throw and flick it out onto the lake and watch as it bounces along the surface; Not once… Not twice… But six times.
“Nice effort” the strange girl laughs. I laugh back with her and subtly give her a flirting nudge. She bends down to pick up a rock, and with a smooth throw it springs across the water not once… Not twice… But. But… I stand there in shock. The stone never stops bouncing until it is out of view.
“Wow! That was amazing! How the hell did you do that?” I ask.
“Haha just loads of practice” She says while flirtingly nudging me back.
“I have actually never seen anything like that before! Honestly, that was amazing. Can you do it again?”
“Nah, I’ll probably do it again later.” A moment of silence fills the bushy land we’re encapsulated in, as no word of ours is being spoken. We stand there listening to the striking beautiful bird noises coming from the tree tops high above us. I begin to think about this strange situation I am in, standing next to a girl I have never met before and acting like she is my best friend.
To the corner of my eye I see a movement. I look to see what it is and a kangaroo emerges from behind a tree. It stops and stares at us. The girl holds out her hand carefully, gesturing it for the kangaroo to come over. There is a slight wait. Then it slowly reaches out with its front two paws and makes its way over to us; until it reaches the girls hand and she pets it on the head. My jaw drops in disbelief. Once I reach my arm out to pet it, straight away it bounces away out of view.
“Oh” I sigh. “Well that was quite odd.”
This girl is amazing! She is purely talented at anything she can do. I wonder what her name is.
“Now, I haven’t asked you this yet, but what is your name?” As soon as I ask her this my mother calls from the back veranda of our house.
“Ruben! It’s time to come inside. Dinner is already set on the table.” She calls.
“Oh that’s my mother. I gotta go… It was really nice meeting you.” I say.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Ruben.” She says with a smile and turns around to look back out at the lake.
The cold, Autumn wind blows the fiery leaves along the ground and the girls brown hair flails like a flag. I take in one last glimpse of her hoping it’s not my last; and then make my way inside. I actually feel bad about leaving her there. I really want to stay. I want to find out more about her. I want to look into her beautiful blue eyes one more time. I hope I get to see her again tomorrow. Before I open the back door and walk inside I turn around to see if she is still standing there.
But she is gone.
The family are all seated at the table; mum, dad and Josephine are all prepared to start eating. I straight away take my place next to my sister and immediately get pounded with questions.
“Who were you talking to?” All three of them ask at the same time.
“Oh that was just this girl who randomly walked down to me on the lakes edge.” I answer.
Their faces stunned. A deafening silence fills the room.
“Who are you talking about dear?” My mother asks. “There wasn’t a girl with you.”
“What do you mean?” I slowly ask with a confused tone in my voice. Their eyes clued to mine as they all respond together
“You were talking to yourself.”
End chapter 1